The impact of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization outcome.

Domar A et al Fertil Steril 2009 Vol 91 Issue 3 pg 723-6
Fertility and Sterility



This study showed no acupuncture effect and the researchers felt this was due to the fact that they included many women who didn’t have good quality embryos available for transfer. While acupuncture may help a woman become pregnant after the transfer of a healthy embryo, the researcher noted in an interview, it can’t repair an embryo with chromosomal defects or other abnormalities. She added, “Despite the results of my own study, I still recommend acupuncture to women going through IVF”

Objective: To replicate previous research on the efficacy of acupuncture in increasing pregnancy rates (PR) in patients undergoing IVF and to determine whether such an increase was due to a placebo effect.

Design: Prospective, randomized, controlled, single blind trial. Setting: Private, academically affiliated, infertility clinic.

Patients: One hundred fifty patients scheduled to undergo embryo transfer.

Intervention(s): Subjects were randomized to either the acupuncture or control group. Acupuncture patients received the protocol, as first described by Paulus and his colleagues, for 25 minutes before and after embryo transfer. Control subjects laid quietly. All subjects then completed questionnaires on anxiety and optimism. The IVF staff remained blind to subject assignment.

Main Outcome Measures: Clinical PRs, anxiety, optimism.

Before randomization both groups had similar demographic characteristics including age and psychological variables. There were no significant differences in PRs between the two groups. Acupuncture patients reported significantly less anxiety post-transfer and reported feeling more optimistic about their cycle and enjoyed their sessions more than the control subjects.

Conclusions: The use of acupuncture in patients undergoing IVF was not associated with an increase in PRs but they were more relaxed and more optimistic